Posts from 27th October 2003

Oct 03

I nearly exploded with excitement

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I nearly exploded with excitement when I found the debut of Dave Queen in the Village Voice this week! Dave Q. is probably my favorite music writer of all time (based on his ILM posts alone), a frequent correspondent and occasional partner in crime, and a contributor to Freaky Trigger’s very own Proven by Science blog. Dave is so convincing that by the end of the article I really did believe that ZZ Top was Mexican!

Bubba Sparxxx –

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Bubba Sparxxx – Deliverance

I liked Bubba’s debut, but I only really loved a few tracks on it, some really interesting hints at something new, some fecund mix where Timbaland’s customary brilliance (which we do take a bit for granted, I think) met a fresh approach, a rural rapper not at all coming over as a curiosity or soft option, a new hip hop talent with roots in country rather than soul or funk (or as well as: Like It Or Not shows he has the funk too). I’m not sure how much attention this second album has had, but I think it’s fulfilling a lot of that promise.

Bubba himself is finding his own voice more. He was overly influenced by Eminem often on the first, and his voice doesn’t have that nimble wit or technical skill, but it has an emotional force Eminem’s irony and gags rarely permit him to access. And we have a pretty new accent to hip hop, the southern vowels in which seem to offer some interesting new rhythmic possibilities. He’s staking out slightly new ground lyrically too – I think he’s grafting some of the best sincerity of country music to hip hop’s street parlance, and finding a substantial charge of feeling in the blend.

Musically, much of it is a really strange and fresh melange of sounds. Track 3, Comin’ Round, was the one that made me prick up my ears and suspect I was hearing a special album: it centres on a country/folk fiddle sample, and Tim integrates it into something really new and affecting. Other tracks use live instrumentalists to much the same effects – I suspect that Timbaland hadn’t worked with a lot of Southern fiddlers before, and he rises to the challenge impressively. Maybe Bubba’s debut was the training ground, the practice run, and we have the real thing here, one of the very best hip hop albums of 2003 (which I think has been an exciting and innovative year in the genre), which lives up the standards right to the storming, rocking end with Back In The Mud.

And how many meanings can you find in that album title?

Oh No!

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 242 views

Oh No! According to the man who works at Blackheath station newsagents (upstairs bit), Blackcurrant Airwaves are being phased out! I’ve checked with the Wrigleys UK site, but no news, good or bad. Not much news at all really. I hope it’s not true, as I don’t want this to happen to me again. I’ve not seen any Spicy Cocktail flavour airwaves for some time, and fear the worst. My gum of choice could be going down the tubes (those tubes unblocked by airwaves refreshing vapour release properties, natch). I’ve bought 20 packets just in case, but they won’t last long. Sob.

“They’re just trying to shock.”

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 615 views

“They’re just trying to shock.” This seems to be a bogus criticism of art in the first place (can you tell its Turner season again?) – shock is an exciting reaction to have, it leads to thought and discourse more directly than most responses, why shouldn’t art try and elicit it? What bothers me is when reviewers – having pronounced that X or Y is trying to shock – then do their best to defuse the shock by minutely describing what a viewer is going to see. If the Chapman Brothers are going to try and shock me then I don’t want to know the details – the whole point of the thing is that I don’t know them. An art writer should no more describe a ‘shocking’ artwork than a film reviewer should give away a twist ending: it’s insulting to reader and artist alike.

Waiting For Happiness

Do You SeePost a comment • 390 views

Waiting For Happiness feels to me like the kind of film African directors have to make to get shown in arthouse cinemas in Europe. Whilst the French funding is supposed no strings attached, the truth of the matter is that if the film is not seen in certain places then it would be said that the funding was a waste. Since such little money goes to African film in the first place, this places a ridiculously high burden upon the film-makers. So high that the demands of politics and narrative goes out of the window.

This may be harsh, but I have seen a fair number of African films now which play the festival and arthouse circuit. I know this is not all there is being made, but I know that it is nevertheless a significant proportion. What does the European arthouse audience want to see then? Stunning cinematography? Small, slight tales about life on the edge of a desert? Kids, always with the kids, often being more wise than their age belies.

On a bad day I would have hated Waiting For Happiness, but truth be told it is a beguling little film and the scattershot method means it has at least few moments of greatness (the electricity in the desert part is striking). But it is a singularly unambitious film, you cannot blame it for that. The way African film is funded, and seen has bred films like this. Africa has plenty of films in it, and unfortunately you would think an inconsequential mood piece like Waiting For Happiness would be a lot lower down on the list.

Bars we have known

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 475 views

Bars we have known. (And a moment of synchronicity with Mark’s last post). On Sunday morning, as you do, we wondered whether Wispas were still being made. Yours truly drew the short straw and made the long walk for the Sunday papers, and was also tasked with looking for a Wispa.

Mr H., our newsie, was sorry to inform us that they were not, but offered instead Dairy Milk with bubbles in. What seems to have happened is that Cadbury’s have streamlined their chocolate bar ranges. So what you get is a range of bog-standard Dairy Milk bars in chunks, with a variety extras. And where there was Wispa, there shall Dairy Mulk Bubble be. (NB Can’t be arsed to find out the exact name, and when you get to the end of this entry, you won’t want to find out either. Except maybe to avoid it.)

Anyway, having purchased one of these monstrosities (oops, giving away the ending again) and some white chocolate maltesers from Alldays next door, I set off home. Now I hate Dairy Milk chocolate: it’s far too sweet for me for a start (chocolate is *not* supposed to be sweet), and a bit too creamy. Wispa, I seem to remember, used to be a bit darker, and a bit subtler. So inevitably, disappointment is on the menu for breakfast chez CB/AT…

… But luckily, I’d also picked up some Thai Sweet Chilli flavour Walkers Sensations. So that was all right then. NB no-one I have imparted this information too can believe that the Wispa has been discontinued, although I have a vague memory of it being announced at some point. If anyone can confidently confirm or deny please feel free!


Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 128 views


(Facesaving item just this second remembered from same documentary: WISPA narrowly avoided being marketed as ROMBO)

Pop’s Romo Roots!

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Pop’s Romo Roots!: this fansite to production and songwriting team Xenomania (Sugababes, Girls Aloud, Dannii, Abs, assorted others) has a couple of very intriguing entries – Xenomania started off as remixers of choice to the Romo ‘aristocracy’! I was surprised and pleased to see old favourites Sexus (“How Do You Kiss?”) and Hollywood (“Apocalypse Kiss”) on the discography. You can hear it on their current work, too!

Fantastic though his mishearing is

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 383 views

Fantastic though his mishearing is, the word Mark’s looking for is “countline”. But what does “countline” mean? (It refers to pretty much all bar-type or tube-type chocolate and sweets) I’ve vaguely assumed the ‘count’ is a shortening of “counter” – i.e. it means sweets that are front-of-shop, point-of-purchase impulse buys.

Re: Alan’s shape query

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 1,018 views

Re: Alan’s shape query: years ago I saw a documentary about the marketing campaign for Yorkie, during which they announced that it belonged to (as I heard it) the “cantiline bar” category. Googling now I can only find this engineering/shipping term as a possible non-chocospecific meaning (relating to the stacking of cylinders) for a reasonably similar word. Which would make the KKK a “cantiline” or “cantline square”? (Also of interest, from same documentary: rejected names for “Yorkie” = “O’Brien” and “Quinn”)